Bubbles & Bubbly
Gala Event Presenters
This year's hybrid in-person and livestream gala program will feature presentations by seven innovators and experts of marine conservation - each one unique within their field.
Noam Bedein founded the Dead Sea Revival Project in 2016. Noam is an Israeli photojournalist, international speaker and environmental visual arts activist, and has been recognize by CNN/VR (CNN Virtual Reality), National Geographic and NASA for his Dead Sea educational and activism work. Through his ecotourism, photography, and virtual expeditions, Noam exposes the magic and beauty of the lowest place on earth, while educating the public on the dramatic rate the Dead Sea is losing water and encouraging decision-makers to save this water treasure.
Tova Harel Bornovski
Toval Harel founded the Micronesian Shark Foundation (MSF) in 2002. She is also the general manager of Fish 'n Fins dive shop and Ocean Hunter Palau liveaboard dive trips. Via MSF, Tova initiated the first shark research initiative in Palau in order to collect, distribute and analyze data that could be used for shark regional protection. Tova created the first shard count and collection of DNA samples in Micronesia, as well as documentation of illegal shark finning in Palau. She has instituted education programs, published children's books and created drawing competitions about the plight of Micronesian sharks. Tova was inducted into the Women Divers Hall of Fame in 2013.
Michael Dwork is the founder and CEO of VerTerra. With the creation of the compostable palm leaf plate, Michael has been innovating sustainable materials since 2006. He has been issued 13 patents, all focused on sustainable plating and packaging including collapsible wooden to-go boxes and compostable cheese boards. He speaks and writes about sustainable initiatives and consults about minimizing impact in organizations, production and packaging. Michael serves as a Fellow at the Culinary Institute of America, an advisor to the International Caterers Association and is a board trustee for the National Association for Catering and Event Professionals.
Michael Fishbach has more than 29 years of experience studying blue and other large whales in the US, Mexico, Canada, and the Azores and has advocated for their protection from ship strikes and other human and climate-caused threats. Michael conducts annual field research on the blue whale in the Sea of Cortez off Baja, California, where for the past 26 seasons he has tracked the oldest and the best known blue whales on earth, and hundreds of other sea life. Michael is currently the Executive Director of the Great Whale Conservancy whose mission is to protect the plights of the world's largest animal, the endangered blue whale, as well as the world's other great whales.
Jack Fishman has always had a great appreciation of the ocean and its amazing inhabitants. From learning to snorkel and identify fish at the age of six, to a diving career of more than 17 years, Jack grew his love for the underwater realm after watching the reefs change over many years. Jack's humble beginnings led him to become a prudent dive instructor and passionate marine conservationist. Working as the Marine Conservation Coordinator at Rainbow Reef Dive Center in Key Largo, he was able to inspire meaningful communities working together for a clean ocean, and create dive programs that helped divers become powerful citizen scientists. As Project AWARE's Community Conservation Officer, Jack now works with local communities, as well as dive centers around the world, to help them achieve their potential in conservation programs.
Dr. Neil Hammerschlag
Dr. Neil Hammerschlag is a marine biologist and Research Associate Professor at the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science and Abess Center for Ecosystem Science & Policy. His current research centers broadly on behavioral and movement ecology and conservation biology of sharks and other marine predators. Dr. Hammerschlag is also Director of the Shark Research & Conservation Program (SRC) at the University of Miami. SRC conducts cutting-edge shark research while also inspiring scientific literacy and environmental ethics in youth through unique hands-on field research experiences. Every year, SRC brings out thousands of people from the public, mostly school-children, on research vessels to survey, sample, tag and study sharks.
Dr. Baruch (Buki) Rinkevich
Dr. Buki Rinkevich is a senior coral researcher at Israel Oceanographic and Limnological Research and one of the early pioneers of international coral restoration. Dr. Rinkevich's lab pioneered methods, now used around the work, to restore coral reefs. He and his lab continue to focus their research on improving coral restoration as well as in the areas of chimeras, avian bone transplants, immunology, tunicates animals, human reproduction and more. Dr. Rinkevich has published more than 335 scientific studies and a book entitled: Stem Cells in Marine Organisms.